There seems to be a big problem with the denizens of the Beltway, both in the political and media fields, in confusing process with intent. That is, to judge by their actions, there is this apparent perception that because the American people disagreed with the use of a process in the past, that they will always disagree with its use, regardless of intent — even though history shows repeatedly that this is not the case.
For example: Americans are not and have never been against the process of impeachment itself. What they oppose is its misuse by persons with bad intentions. Americans approved of impeaching Nixon, disapproved of impeaching Clinton, and approve of impeaching Bush and Cheney. In the case of Clinton, they didn’t see him as having done anything that rated impeachment, much less removal. In the cases of Nixon, Bush and Cheney, they clearly saw and see them each as richly deserving of both impeachment and removal.
For another example: Americans are not and have never been against the filibuster itself. What they oppose is its misuse by persons with bad intentions. Currently, they are very angry that good legislation isn’t being passed, but when the Democrats cave at the prospect of a Republican filibuster, it is the Democrats — not the Republicans — that get blamed for not passing the legislation.
The solution, of course, is to let the Republicans make it crystal-clear, with their filibusters and their vetoes and their sustaining of their vetoes, that they oppose tooth and nail the very legislation — on health care, finances, Iraq and pretty much everything else — that the American people most want.
Yes, the Republicans and their media minions will of course accuse the Democrats of wasting everyone’s time, even though it’s the Republicans who are holding up the legislation that the people most want. The simple truth is that the Republicans wasted most of the previous session of Congress; even with GOP obstructionism running rampant, the new Democratic-run Senate alone has already had 247 votes in less than six months. By contrast, when Republicans ran the Senate, there were 279 in all of the last year. In addition, in 2006 the old Republican-run Senate was only in session for 138 days, a post-war record low. Already this year, the Senate under Democratic control has been in session for 106 days. That’s pretty darned good, but it’d be even better if Harry Reid and Company had made it clear from the beginning that they weren’t going to save the Republicans from making fools of themselves.
As Chris Bowers said, “call your Democratic Senators and tell them you want to see Republicans actually filibuster if they want to stop our popular legislation. Cloture votes are simply not enough. Make Republicans stand in the well of the Senate and give every fiber of their beings to support their unpopular causes.”
Call your Democratic Senators. Tell them it is time for Republicans to be exposed — or rather, to be forced to either expose themselves as against the people, or to back the people’s agenda. It’s time to play hardball. Yes, Harry Reid’s already announced today that he intends to do just that. But let’s hold him to that!